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Cardinal Basilios Bessarion
Birth: Jan. 2, 1403
Trabzon, Turkey
Death: Nov. 18, 1472
Provincia di Ravenna
Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Roman Catholic Cardinal. A native of Trebizond, Greece, nowadays part of Turkey, Cardinal Bessarion was given the name Basilios on his birth. History recalls him as the 'Cardinal of Nicaea'. Joining the Monastic Order of Saint Basil in 1423 in Peloponnesus, Basilios studied in Constantinople and later in Mistra, and was named higumenus superior of a monastery in Constantinople in 1436. Elected metropolite of Nicaea of the Greeks the following year, he was soon noted for his initiative for the union of the Greek and Latin Churches. Attending the Council of Florence with Emperor Paleologus on March 4, 1438, he accepted the dogma of the Filioque and entered the Catholic Church before returning to Greece. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of December 18, 1439 by Pope Eugene IV with the title of Ss. XII Apostoli, he entered the Sacred College of Cardinals on December 10, 1440 in Florence. Named archbishop of the titular see of Tebe that same year, he served as Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals for the year 1441. Abbot commendatario of the Benedictine monastery of Santo Stefano, near Split, he was assigned as visitor of the Basilian monasteries in Italy in 1446, establishing schools in all of them, especially in Messina. Protector and reformer of the Order of Saint Basil, he was inscribed in the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit in Rome, on April 10, 1446, and participated in the conclave of 1447 which elected Nicholas V to the Papacy. Administrator of the metropolitan see of Manfredonia and archimandrite of Sicily from May 5, 1447 until April 7, 1449, he opted for the order of cardinal bishops and the suburbicarian see of Sabina on March 5, 1449, retaining 'in commendam' the title of Ss. XII Apostoli until his death. Administrator of the see of Mazzara between March 28, 1449 and October 25, 1458, he opted for the suburbicarian see of Frascati on April 23, 1449. Named Legate 'a latere' on September 10, 1449 to promote the peace between Venice and Milan, he resigned the commendam of the monastery of San Giuliano di Rimini on September 24, 1449 and was named administrator of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on the following October 21. One of the cardinals charged with the cause of canonization of Bernardino of Siena in 1449, who was canonized the following year, on February 27, 1450, he was named legate in Bologna, Romagna and Marche Anconitana, holding the post for five years. In 1451, he issued decrees against luxury and in 1453, reformed the statutes of the city, being named as one of its benefactors. Alerting the Pope of the conspiracy of Porcaro, which he foiled in January 1453, he wrote to the doge of Venice on July 18, 1453 to ask for his support for the defense of Christendom against the Turks. Participating in the conclave of 1455, which elected Callistus III to the Papacy, he served as administrator of Pamplona from July 26, 1458 until May 18, 1462, celebrating a synod on April 10, 1459. Participating in the conclave of 1458, which elected Pope Pius II to the Chair of St. Peter, he visited Siena in 1459 with the latter Pope and signed a Papal Bull. On May 19, 1459, he signed a decree in Ferrara to introduce the cause of the mystic Catherine of Siena. Protector of the Dominicans and the Franciscans, he followed the Pope to Mantua for the opening of the Congress on September 16, 1459. There, he preached against the Turks. In the consistory of January 2, 1460, he was named legate in Germany to promote the Crusade. Leaving Rome on January 19, 1460, he was in Nuremberg on February 20, in Worms on March 26, and in Vienna on May 7, participating in the Diet on September 17, 1460. His mission failed and successively he worked only for the pacification of Germany. Returning to his legation in Vienna on November 4, he went to Narni with Cardinals Alessandro Oliva OESA., and Enea Silvio Piccolomini to bring the skull of Saint Andrew the Apostle to Rome. Arriving on April 12, 1462 in Ponte Molle, Pope Pius II took it and solemnly transported it the next day to the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica. Visiting Viterbo with the Pope for the liturgical feast of Corpus Christi, he was appointed abbot commendatario of the Greek Monastery of Grottaferrata in August 1462, and Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and titular patriarch of Constantinople in April 1463. Named legate in Venice for the Crusade against the Turks, leaving Rome on July 5 of that year, in six days, he obtained the declaration of war of Venice against the Turks. Participating in the conclave of 1464 which elected Pope Paul II to the see of Peter, in November that year, together with Cardinals Guillaume d'Estouteville and Juan de Carvajal, he was named commissary of the Holy Crusade. Becoming the confident of Pope Paul II, he was named by the latter as member of the Commission for Bohemian Affairs in 1465. Elected Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals in the consistory of January 7, 1467, he occupied the post until June 11, 1468. Resigning the commendam of the monastery of San Cristoforo of Urbino on January 1, 1468, he willed his library with over six hundred manuscripts to Venice on May 31, 1468. Resigning the commendam of the monastery of San Giovanni di Piro within the diocese of Policastro on July 18, 1468, at the request of the Pope on December 19, 1470, he wrote to the princes and people of Italy asking for support in the face of the Turkish menace. He tried to promote the union of the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church at the marriage of Ivan III with the daughter of Thomas Paleologus. Participating in the conclave of 1471, which elected Pope Sixtus IV to the Chair of St. Peter, he served as legate before the King of France, the Duke of Bourgogne and the King of England for the defense of Christendom. Returning back ill and unsuccessful, he died in Ravenna on November 18, 1472. His body was transferred to Rome on December 3, where the obsequies took place, presided by the Pope. He was buried in the basilica of the Ss. XII Apostoli, which he had embellished and where he had built a modest tomb in 1466, sealed with an epitaph in Latin followed by a distique in Greek which he had himself prepared. The life of this illustrious Greek scholar, written by Abbot Luigi Bandini, was published in Rome in 1777. (bio by: Eman Bonnici) 
Basilica dei Santi Apostoli
Provincia di Roma
Lazio, Italy
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Jan 17, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32992066
Cardinal Basilios Bessarion
Added by: Eman Bonnici
Cardinal Basilios Bessarion
Added by: Eman Bonnici
Cardinal Basilios Bessarion
Added by: Eman Bonnici
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